A trial to decide the ultimate fate of the Allen Paulson Living Trust breeding and racing operation will begin Monday in San Diego County Court in Vista, California.
Michael Paulson, son of the late Allen Paulson and co-trustee of the estate, has petitioned the court to allow the trust to continue racing and breeding operations. Co-trustee Dr. Nicholas Diaco, however, has countered with a second petition asking for the immediate sale of the remaining Paulson horses. Allen Paulson, who died July 19, 2000, requested all his bloodstock be dispersed.
A pre-trial conference was held Monday and the court date was set. Judge Richard Cline will decide whether to require the dispersal of all remaining Paulson bloodstock or allow it to continue. A total of 68 horses are currently owned by the trust, according to Michael Paulson's petition, including Horse of the Year candidate Azeri.
Diaco became a co-trustee when Ed White resigned from the position. Diaco intends to follow the request of the Paulson patriarch by selling all remaining horses at Keeneland. However, Michael Paulson contends he should not be forced to sell because the operation has become a money earner since his father's death.
"It's coming to a point where a decision is going to be made," said Adam Streisand, Paulson's attorney. "The decision will be based on the trust and whether there are changing circumstances based on the market conditions of selling horses that give the ability of horse operations to make money."
About 75% of the Paulson bloodstock has already been dispersed, according to court documents. Streisand said profits have been made by the Paulson Living Trust operation in recent years "with or without" the money earned by selling many of its horses.
Earlier this year, Paulson' widow Madeleine tried to have Michael removed as a co-trustee for failing to sell the trust's horses. She contended in a probate petition filed Jan. 24 that Michael's "stated hatred to others of his stepmother led him to take actions that were directly intended to harm (her)."
Allen Paulson developed one of the world's most successful breeding and racing in the 1980's and it has continued its racetrack success into the new millennium. Standouts this year included Azeri, winner of the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I); multiple Grade 1 winner Astra; and top turf horse Del Mar Show.
Paulson won four Eclipse Awards: two as top owner (1995, '96), one for top breeder ('93), and the Eclipse Award of Merit in 1996.